Miki Kratsman’s images at the exhibition (Time After Time) are taken from his Facebook page (Miki Kratsman: People I Met); Kratsman “cuts” portraits of non-combatants in the occupied territories from his photographic archive, and uploads them to his “page”. ‘What has become of them?’ He asks his Facebook audience. The answers vary; some of these non-combatants have already died: wanted, by-passers, shot with precision (target killings) by employing some of the most advanced military technology that differentiates between one and the other, or in any other conflict-related situation. Some of them are still among us.
Kratsman’s politics are there, of course. But Kratsman’s course has additional motives. To my knowledge, Kratsman is writing a story about ‘representation’ and its fate. I use the word fate for a good reason. ‘Happened’ is a word that could mediate the banal next to the tragedy. Indeed, while bearing in mind the objectives in the photographs, it is photography in a violent and difficult place. The photographs are ‘bad’, ‘cutout’, ‘taken by’, and ‘pasted on’. They are kind of an insult to the sharp and bright fetishism of photography as we know it. Kratsman points out to a fictitious subjectivity. These are classic ‘missing persons’ photographs; those that are pointed at, carelessly at times; a partially erased inventory list. The portraits, of people living or dead, are individually a world of its own for their relatives, yet nothing to those who want them dead. Kratsman brings this dissonance to his Facebook page. This results in a softer appearance on the one hand, while reveals the poignance on the other.
Facebook, if you will, is the tool-box, the workshop. These are the boundaries of his territory; his space allowance. Facebook is “cool”, quick, clean, electronic. What does Facebook has to do with Shahids? How can one draw an analogy between a ‘Bullet to the head’ and Facebook ‘Likes’? Or, in other words- who, or what, do I like when I ‘Like’ a picture of a wanted man on Kratsman’s Facebook? And what does this entire colonialist Facebook issue have to do with the horrible life under occupation? These questions do not deal with sentimentality whatsoever. They are precisely what they are: questions that arise from representation, regarding the culture of representation and the ever-growing distance between ‘life’ and us.
From “Time After Time” exhibition text by Danny Yahav-Brown